There should be no doubt, the so-called surge is working, but, in September, I am afraid General Petraeus will downplay the positive effect for fear of appearing too partisan. It is sad that in today's society and political environment it is unacceptable for a general to be…well, a general. Even worse is an ambivalent public afraid to root for their own team.Neo-Neocon posting on Pajamas Media:
[S]omething funny happened on the way to General Petraeus’s September 2007 report to Congress: the surge begin to work.Michael Yon reporting from Anbar province:
And now the Democrats face a different prospect if the trend continues: they may have to acknowledge that they were wrong in opposing the surge (in certain cases, in writing it off before it truly began). They might even lose the 2008 election as a result. Or, if victorious, they would have to make tough decisions about how to prosecute the rest of the war. If the latter occurs they will, ironically, find themselves in what might be called “the Nixon position”—that is, they’ll have to decide how to finish a difficult war that another party’s administration began.
Over the past several years, while working into a strategic fatigue, our military has made an amazing transformation in how it conducts this war. Gone, for instance, are heavy-handed tactics, replaced by multi-dimensional counterinsurgency strategy rolled out simultaneously with targeted kinetic battles, like those recently with the 3/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Baqubah.Badgers Forward:
Arrowhead Ripper was merely the latest experience that underlines the Army’s rapidly-growing expertise. Yet the Marines have adapted faster and seem poised to win the war in their battle space. In fact, it’s been Army officers who have told me repeatedly over the past several years that nobody is successfully morphing to meet this war faster than the Marines. Of course, Army officers who compliment Marines always say, “But that didn’t come from me.”
Road trip from Camp Ramadi to Camp Falluja. Again. But this trip is different. . .Last week's Washington Post:
We descend off the bridge and that's when you notice the change. When we arrived here the main broad boulevard that traverse the east-west route through the city, with the broad sidewalks had been narrowed down to two and sometimes one lane by concrete barriers, concertina, and debris.
Today the boulevard is wide open and people are walking the streets. Women in abayah's, men in dishdasha, soccer attire, and a few in suits talking on their cell phones. Some people ignore our small convoy, some look suspiciously, and some wave.
There at the first corner, I see it. New glass. Someone has put new glass in a shop. Someone only installs new glass when they think it won't get broken. New glass is confidence.
As we roll though Ramadi I see more stores and small shops open. And more new glass.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) made a round of calls yesterday to freshman Democrats, some of whom recently returned from trips to Iraq and made news with their positive comments on military progress. "I'm not finding any wobbliness on the war -- at all," Emanuel said.Monday's Guardian (U.K.):
The burst of effort has been striking, if only because Democrats left for their August recess confident that Republicans would be on the defensive by now. Instead, the GOP has gone on the attack. The new privately funded ad campaign, to run in 20 states, features a gut-level appeal from Iraq war veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, pleading: "It's no time to quit. It's no time for politics." . . .
Democratic leaders in Congress had planned to use August recess to raise the heat on Republicans to break with President Bush on the Iraq war. Instead, Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved: reconciliation among Iraq's diverse political factions.
Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, and fellow leaders in the country have reached consensus on key areas of national reconciliation, under mounting US pressure to demonstrate political progress on the eve of a key report to Congress on the Baghdad security "surge".Newhouse News' Bill Cahir in Monday's Gloucester County Times:
The Shia prime minister appeared on television flanked by Jalal Talabani, the country's Kurdish president, and the Sunni vice-president, Tareq al-Hashemi, to announce a deal on easing restrictions on former members of the Ba'ath party joining the civil service and military.
Easing de-Ba'athification laws passed after the 2003 US invasion has long been seen as a vital step if disenchanted Sunnis, who formed the backbone of Saddam Hussein's regime and, since its fall, of the insurgency, are to be persuaded to take part in Iraqi political life.
[T]he climate in Washington may have shifted, and the anti-war expectations may not pan out.Well-known and formerly anti-war journalist William Shawcross in the Spectator (U.K.):
Republican lawmakers like U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent in Pennsylvania, along with U.S. Reps. Mike Ferguson and Frank LoBiondo in New Jersey, next month may have a bit more breathing room to stick with President Bush and his plan to surge additional U.S. troops into Iraq.
Military gains in al Anbar Province have surprised policy-makers in Washington and put lawmakers calling for troop cutbacks on the defensive. A Sunni region that includes Fallujah and Ramadi, among other previously violent cities, al Anbar Province has changed dramatically in the past eight months, according to Marine Corps commanders, lawmakers who have visited the region, and independent observers like Kenneth Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution.
Tribal leaders in Ramadi and Fallujah have turned against al-Qaida, they report. Sunnis have begun joining local police forces and taking part in patrols against terror groups. U.S. authorities have begun steering reconstruction funds toward tribes providing intelligence to Marines about the identity and location of terrorist cells.
The new comfort zone for many politicians and leader-writers appears to be the notion that if Britain withdraws its troops from Iraq and sends all the freed-up forces to Afghanistan, then all will be well. Siren voices are insisting that honour would be satisfied by such a move and we would still be pulling our weight in what Gordon Brown refuses to call ‘the war on terror’ or ‘the war against Islamist extremism’. Afghanistan, say those voices, is the crucial place to be engaging al-Qa’eda. Iraq is a sideshow.Monday's BBC news:
This is no comfort zone at all. The war against Islamist extremism is indivisible. ‘The thought that Afghanistan is somehow a more righteous war is absurd,’ General Jack Keane told me this week. Keane is the soldier who helped devise present US policy in Iraq and has been critical of the British performance in southern Iraq.
Al-Qa’eda is an international criminal organisation that declared war on the West in the 1990s, and is determined to subjugate us. If we cut and run from one crucial battleground, it will be a betrayal of our allies in both America and Iraq and a victory for all Islamist extremism, Shia as well as Sunni.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has offered to apologise to Iraq if he had meddled in its affairs.First Democrats, then the media. And soon the French? An optimistic Instapundit observes, "They're usually pretty good at spotting a shift in the wind." True--think of Sartre and de Beauvoir, who piled up saucers at the Deux Magots and "continued with their careers during the occupation . . . at the cost of tacitly conniving with Nazi policies." Or ephemeral frogs like Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas who:
The statement comes a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Maliki demanded an official apology because Mr Kouchner had suggested he resign.
spent World War II in Vichy France in the village of Culoz, not far from an orphanage where the Gestapo rounded up more than 40 Jewish children who were then deported to Auschwitz where they were murdered[. In her new bio, Janet] Malcolm asks a valid question. . . "How had this pair of elderly Jewish lesbians survived the Nazis?" . . . The short answer is--and it will save you a world of trouble rifling through this meandering, jumbled narrative, and also $25--they sucked up to scumbags.And Monday, even the supposedly sober French President Sarkozy called for surrender. . . ah. . .an exit from Iraq (not that they ever entered). Nothing new here--during a 1971 Tokyo meeting between the U.S. Treasury Secretary and the Japanese Prime Minister, the latter remarked:
[T]he EEC tends to move as a bloc, but one of its members, France, does not understand why it should move at all. He recalled meeting General DeGaulle, who threw out his chest and proclaimed that France would develop nuclear weapons to ensure its own defense; even though he admitted that France was too poor to afford a nuclear parity with the United States, DeGaulle wanted a force d'frappe to free France from its dependence on NATO. He commented that France is incapable of cooperating with anyone, even in economic matters.I'd like to think the tide has turned--toward enhanced American acuity, a modernized media meme, and a falling French fondness for non! (sixty years after supplanting Marshall Pétain's ja!) Yet recent rumblings of reason probably are mere coincidence--more mistaken than a stopped clock, Democrats, reporters and Frenchmen can't collectively be right even twice a day. And even if reason reappears, Blue-State lefties, Blue-diminished-sovereignty Euros and the MSM will find a way to blame Bush, Gonzales being unavailable.
(via reader Doug J.; Instapundit2; Gateway Pundit)